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Christianity Rapidly Declining in U.S.A.
America's Changing Religious Landscape
In America, smaller groups of adults now say they are Christians, while religious 'nones' have grown. The religious landscape of the United States continues to change rapidly. In Pew Research Center telephone surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019, 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christians when asked about their religion, down 12 percentage points over the past decade. But, the religiously unaffiliated share of the population, consisting of people who claim their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” now stands at 26%, up from 17% in 2009.
Both Protestants and Catholics are undergoing losses of population. At present, 43% of U.S. adults identify with Protestantism, down from 51% in 2009. And one-in-five adults (20%) are Catholic, down from 23% in 2009. But, all subsets of the religiously un-affiliated population . . . a group also known as religious “nones” . . . have seen their numbers grow. Self-described atheists now account for 4% of U.S. adults, up modestly but significantly from 2% in 2009; agnostics make up 5% of U.S. adults, up from 3% a decade ago; and 17% of Americans now describe their religion as “nothing in particular,” up from 12% in 2009. Members of non-Christian religions also have grown modestly as a part of the adult population.
In America, church attendance is declining. Most of these political polls include a question about religious attendance . . . “Aside from weddings and funerals, how often do you attend religious services? More than once a week, once a week, once or twice a month, a few times a year, seldom, or never?” Taken together, these two questions (one about religious identity, the other about religious attendance) can help shed light on religious trends in the U.S.
The data shows that just like rates of religious association, rates of religious attendance are declining. Over the last decade, the share of Americans who say they attend religious services at least once or twice a month dropped by 7 %, while the share who say they attend religious services less often (if at all) has risen by the same degree. In 2009, regular worship attenders (those who attend religious services at least once or twice a month) outnumbered those who attend services only occasionally or not at all by a 52%-to-47% margin. Today those figures are reversed; more Americans now say they attend religious services a few times a year or less (54%) than say they attend at least monthly (45%).
More and More Americans
Declining to Say They Are Christian
The changes going on in the American religious landscape are ever changing. The Christian share of the population is down and religious “nones” have grown across multiple social statistics groups: white people, black people and Hispanics; men and women; in all regions of the country; and among college graduates and those with lower levels of educational attainment. Religious “nones” are growing faster among Democrats than Republicans, though their ranks are swelling in both biased leagues. And although the religiously un-affiliated are on the rise among younger people and most groups of older adults, their growth is most pronounced among young adults.
Furthermore, the data shows a wide gap between older Americans (Baby Boomers and members of the Silent Generation) and Millennials in their levels of religious affiliation and attendance. More than eight-in-ten members of the Silent Generation (those born between 1928 and 1945) describe themselves as Christians (84%), as do three-quarters of Baby Boomers (76%). In stark contrast, only half of Millennials (49%) describe themselves as Christians; four-in-ten are religious “nones,” and one-in-ten Millennials identify with non-Christian religions.
Millennials are persons born between the early 1980s and the late 1990s; a member of a member of Generation Y. Millennials are so named because they were born near, or came of age during, the dawn of the 21st century . . . the new millennium.
Only about one-in-three Millennials say they attend religious services at least once or twice a month. Roughly two-thirds of Millennials (64%) attend worship services a few times a year or less often, including about four-in-ten who say they seldom or never go. Indeed, there are as many Millennials who say they “never” attend religious services (22%) as there are who say they go at least once a week (22%).
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